Nest Quest in Prospect Park: wood ducks, herons, swans, cardinals, swallows and, of course, robins nest in the park

Wood duck mother and duckling

Something is going on with nests in Prospect Park this season. They’re everywhere. You can’t walk 50 feet in the park bumping into some adorable tableau of chirping baby birds. Half the trees in the park seem to be brimming with exhibitionist robin families. The big unusual nests this year are green herons and wood ducks (which are living somewhere near dog beach–but where they nested, I don’t know.)








Green herons are nesting on the lullwater and near the less-fancy bridge by the boathouse.

Green heron on nest by the boathouse. Babies are tucked under her wing.

Green heron feeds her creepy-looking babies.








Swans in the park, as if in defiance of a potential plan to wipe them out, are multiplying. They have two nests, one helpfully placed on an island by the ice rink to make for easy viewing.

The father swan normally spends his days chasing off other waterfowl, but he came and sat on the eggs with his wife. Apparently he was alarmed by a mommy mallard and her ducklings nearby.

Baby Swans










I havent’ seen barn swallows build nests on the boathouse yet, just in the tunnels.

Barn swallow nest








These robins are so desperate for attention they build nests at eye level, sometimes

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Green heron co-op forms in Prospect Park

Several pairs of green herons are building nests or raising young in what’s becoming a heron co-op near the Lullwater in Prospect Park.

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Green heron nest survived Googa Mooga

Heroic green heron parents endured days of hipster music and foodies when their eggs were about to hatch. Now two chicks are learning to eat regurgitated fish and walk on branches of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

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Monster quest: finding the giant snapping turtle of Prospect Park

giant turtle on grass by pond

Enormous snapping turtles lurk in Brooklyn lakes but emerge this time of year to lay eggs. Oddly, NY state is about to allow trapping, hooking and clubbing them to death.

Keep reading Monster quest: finding the giant snapping turtle of Prospect Park–before NY legalizes trapping them

Googa Mooga drives off nesting green herons

Green herons annoyed off their nest by Googa Mooga, a celebration of hipster food, loud music and the selling out of public park land.

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Turtles already hatching in Prospect Park

Red-eared slider hatchlings, nesting snapping turtles and sunning logs abound in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

Keep reading Prospect Park overfloweth with turtles

Trip to see Orthodox Jews in Pre-Passover duck-feeding frenzy a big disappointment

Non-denominational waterfowl feeding.

I went out last week hoping to see the Orthodox Jews throwing their leavened bread at the Prospect Park geese before Passover. The Prospect Park Alliance publicly notified them not to try to foist off their chametz on the waterfowl feeding. That ticked off the community, who denied any such plans., to the New York Times and the Brooklyn Paper.

So I headed over to the prime duck-feeding spot on the lake in Prospect Park on both the eve and morning of Passover. Let’s be honest, I was hoping for a spectacle: maybe 10 guys in 5 kinds of fur hats, surrounded by their collective 87 children and 10 wives in perfect wigs, all hurling bags of bread at grateful Canada geese. The aggressive swan family that lives there might charge them. A Park Slope mom might passive-aggressively read the sign about not feeding the waterfowl outloud to her kids. The pushy Peking ducks that follow bird feeders away from the lake might try to follow these generous Jews all the way home to Borough Park.

Instead I got absolutely no visible Hasidim at the spot where people and ducks have come to agree is the best spot for feeding, the southwest corner of the lake. (I also looked around the shore and by the boathouse.)

That’s not to say I didn’t see plenty of visibly Orthodox Jews feeding ducks earlier this spring. Sometimes there were even two men in formal garb. But mostly, just

Keep reading Trip to see Orthodox Jews in Pre-Passover duck-feeding frenzy a big disappointment

Atlanta's Duck Pond cracking down on geese

One of the last places it was safe for families to feed ducks falls for the frenzy to eliminate Canada geese.

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Enormous cormorant roost comes back on Cape Cod

Roost of hundreds or thousands of Double-crested Cormorants, Phalacrocorax auritus, on Cedar Pond, near Route 6’s Orleans rotary.

One of the most striking wildlife sites on Cape Cod is one locals hate: a spectacular  cormorant roost on electric wires over Cedar Pond near Orleans.

You pass the roost just south of the Orleans rotary on Route 6, Cape Cod’s main highway, and it turns your head. Cormorants are big, loud and chatty. And the roost just keeps on going as you drive.

Wayne Petersen, who manages the important bird areas for Mass Audubon, says that neighbors had tried to get rid of it, but apparently gave up. “You can imagine the chloroform count in that pond,” he says. The problem isn’t the sight or sound, but the smell of the guano.

Back in 1999, residents got a permit to scare the migratory birds off by firing pyrotechnics, the Cape Cod Times says. They were still missing in 2004, according to Bird Watchers General Store, which says the stink from the pond was “so vile that even a black lab wouldn’t roll in it.”

If you think you’re seeing more cormorants now than you did growing up, you’re right. This Cape Cod roost is one of many that have popped up along the coast–with similar results. People wiped out the birds in the 1800s. Fishermen still view them as competition. And some people just find their stooped neck sunning kinda creepy. But Mass Audubon says the birds, absent as recently

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Birders v Dog People in Hurricane Sandy

Dog people are the only people out on the street and worry about dogs separated from their family. Birders are routing for petrels and other exotics get blown off course to pad out their life lists.

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